This week Prime Minister Netanyahu is on an official visit to Kazakhstan and Azerbaijan, which is a good opportunity to analyse the very significant relationship Israel has with each of these countries. Whilst we often focus on Israel`s relations with the United States, Turkey, Egypt and other “usual suspects”, it is important to remember that Israel is developing important relationships with other countries as well.
Israel and Kazakhstan have had diplomatic relations since 1992, and Shimon Peres made the first visit of an Israeli President to Kazakhstan in 2009. Israel and Kazkhstan work together in a huge range of areas. Firstly, 25% of Israel`s oil comes from Kazakhstan, and in the past, Kazakh Deputy Prime Minister Masimov has raised the possibility of extending existing oil pipelines to reach Israel`s port city of Ashkelon. Israel and Kazakhstan also have strong counter-terrorism links, as Kazakhstan also faces the threat of terrorist groups such as Hizb Ut Tahrir. Kazakhstan will also have a significant role in world affairs for the next two years – beginning in January, it will have a non-permanent seat in the United Nations Security Council. 70% of Kazakhstan is Muslim, yet this Muslim-majority country sees no problem in having a warm relationship with the Jewish State.
Israel and Azerbaijan also have had diplomatic relations since 1992. Israel has extensive defence cooperation with Azerbaijan, and during Mr Netanyahu`s visit, the Azeri Prime Minister revealed that Azerbaijan has bought some $5 billion of defence equipment from Israel. Azerbaijan also is a Muslim country, but it has a Jewish community of 20,000 people, who live without discrimination and under a tolerant government. The good relationship that this Muslim majority country have with Israel also make it stand out – on his trip, Mr Netanyahu said that the relationship between Azerbaijan and Israel is an example of the potential for Jewish Muslim coexistence to provide a better future for everyone.
Israel has much to offer the world in so many fields – medical technology, security equipment, innovative solutions to some of the world`s most pressing problems, and more. Countries around the world are deepening their relationship with Israel, so we should take note of Israel`s expanding global role, and its developing relationships with more and more countries.
Contributed by Aron White, CAMERA intern